Ask Your Preacher
Does Matthew 19:9 teach that a christian who commits adultery and is divorced can't remarry? What about when that adultery occurs before one becomes a Christian?
Sincerely, Marriage Matters
Dear Marriage Matters,
Matt. 19:9 does not address remarriage or what happens after divorce. That verse is part of Jesus’ answer to the question the Pharisees asked in Matt 19:3. The Pharisees wanted to know when it was permissible for a man to divorce his wife. Christ’s answer revolves around the question, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for any cause?” Jesus’ answer: It is only permissible in the case of fornication.
Matt. 19:9 is not an answer to the question of what happens after divorce, but it is merely an answer to the question of when is it lawful for a christian to seek a divorce. Jesus is emphasizing that if a christian gets divorced for any reason other than fornication, then that person is going to be committing fornication themselves.
Matt. 19:9 is often used to discuss what happens after divorce, but that is using the verse out of context. That particular verse does not address what happens after divorce; it only addresses when a divorce is lawful. You would have to go to other verses to find out what God says happens after a divorce.
Assuming you were baptized by immersion for the right reasons, is there ever a need to be re-baptized? What if there was a period you feel you were not living as a Christian?
Sincerely, Wanting To Be Sure
Dear Wanting To Be Sure,
If you were baptized right the first time (see this post for proper baptism guidelines) – then you don’t need to be baptized again, even if you fell away for a period of time. Consider the case of the man who got caught up in the disgusting sin of sleeping with his father’s wife (1 Cor 5:1). The church at Corinth was told to withdraw from that man (1 Cor 5:13). Later on, that same man repented and came back to the Lord. Paul told the church that they should forgive him and his prior punishment had been sufficient (2 Cor 2:6-8). If someone can get caught up in that sort of depraved fornication and not need to be re-baptized, I think we can confidently say that no one needs it.
If someone falls away from the Lord, they must repent and return to God (1 Jhn 1:9). When they draw near again to God, He will draw near to them (Jas 4:8).
Please explain what the Bible means, in layman’s terms, in Matthew 11: 12. Thank you; this scripture is very vague to me and confusing as to what its meaning could be.
Sincerely, Inquiring Mind
Dear Inquiring Mind,
Matt 11:12 is a statement by Jesus addressing what people were trying to do to the kingdom. The kingdom is the church (Col 1:13). We need a little bit of context in order to understand this verse. For four hundred years, the Jews had been anxiously awaiting any prophecy from God. Before John the Baptist, the Jews hadn’t had any prophecy or word from God since the book of Malachi was written. These four hundred years are often called the “Years of Silence”. The last thing that they had been told was to wait for Elijah to come, and after that the kingdom of the Messiah would appear (Mal 4:5).
When John the Baptist arrived, he was the ‘Elijah’ that they were suppose to wait for (Matt 11:13-14). The Jews began to stir with great excitement because they knew the kingdom was near. They thought that the kingdom of heaven would be a military power to save them from Rome – but they were wrong (Jhn 18:36). Because of their misunderstanding, they kept trying to force the kingdom into being. They wanted to be a powerful nation again and throw off the oppression of the Roman government. So they did whatever they could to violently force the kingdom into being. For example, the Jews tried to force Jesus to be a king (Jhn 6:15). This is the violence that Jesus is referring to in Matt 11:12. The Jews didn’t recognize that the kingdom was His church, and because of this misunderstanding, they were attempting to forcibly speed up the formation of the Messiah’s kingdom. That is the violence Jesus referred to in Matt 11:12.
John 6:44 – “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” I pray for people who are lost. Does not this verse clearly tell us we must pray for God to draw them to Jesus? Do we think we're special? “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God.” - (2 Cor 4:4). What are your thoughts?
Sincerely, Praying For The Lost
Dear Praying For The Lost,
It is true that we should pray for the lost, but you misunderstand Jhn 6:44. When Jesus says, “No one can come unless the Father draws him,” you are assuming He means that the Father draws people through some direct miraculous intervention. In the very next verse, Jesus explains that God draws people to Him through teaching and learning. God’s chosen tool to bring salvation to mankind is His Word (Rom 1:16). It is true that the devil has blinded people (2 Cor. 4:4), but he blinds them through deceiving and lying to them (Rev 12:9).
There is an immense need for more prayer among God’s people. We should pray that the Word of God finds good soil in honest and good hearts (Lk 8:11-15)… hearts that are open to God’s Word, so that when they hear it, they will believe and obey (Rom 10:17).
I was talking to my brother who told me that the Bible we use now was constructed by the Catholics, and they left out numerous books and stories. When I said that it was probably stories that the other prophets covered, he said that they left one out about Jesus killing sparrows and a boy and then bringing them back to life in "Thomas' Gospel of Infancy":
"Later he was going through the village again when a boy ran and bumped him on the shoulder. Jesus got angry and said to him, "You won't continue your journey." And all of a sudden, he fell down and died."
I'm trying to make sense of this because I know the Bible is true, but was it constructed by false christians? And if so, is it still pure, true, and the whole Word of God? Please help me.
Sincerely, Truth Only Please
Dear Truth Only Please,
The books that your brother referred to are called ‘apocryphal’ books. An apocryphal book (apocrypha means hidden) is a book that was rejected from the Bible because it was considered inauthentic. These books are not written by God and never were accepted by God’s people as divinely inspired. The Bible was not constructed by Catholics, but that is a common misconception. The most famous historical document that includes the entire list of all the New Testament books was written at the Nicene Council in 325 AD. The Nicene Council is considered to be one of the defining moments that led to the formation of the Catholic church, and therefore people say that Catholics constructed the New Testament. It just isn’t true though.
The Nicene Council did write down a list of the New Testament books, but they didn’t create that list – they just reiterated what people had already known and accepted for a couple hundred years. Most of the New Testament books were written as letters to different congregations that personally knew the apostles and prophets that wrote the letters. Paul would even mention his penmanship as being distinctive (Gal 6:11). Those churches were able to tell the difference between a letter that was actually written by an apostle and one that was a forgery. The church of the first century collected, copied, and distributed these letters just as God intended (Col 4:16, 1 Thess. 5:27). Well before Catholicism showed up on the scene, the books of the Bible were uniformly accepted, and the apocryphal books had been rejected. God made sure that His Word was properly preserved and established.